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A Dual-Polarization Radar Synthetic QPE for Operations

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  • 1 NOAA/OAR/National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Oklahoma
  • | 2 Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
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Abstract

A new dual-polarization (DP) radar synthetic quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) product was developed using a combination of specific attenuation A, specific differential phase KDP, and reflectivity Z to calculate the precipitation rate R. Specific attenuation has advantages of being insensitive to systematic biases in Z and differential reflectivity ZDR due to partial beam blockage, attenuation, and calibration while more linearly related to R than other radar variables. However, the R(A) relationship is not applicable in areas containing ice. Therefore, the new DP QPE applies R(A) in areas where radar is observing pure rain, R(KDP) in regions potentially containing hail, and R(Z) elsewhere. Further, an evaporation correction was applied to minimize false light precipitation related to virga. The new DP QPE was evaluated in real time over the conterminous United States and showed significant improvements over previous radar QPE techniques that were based solely on R(Z) relationships. The improvements included reduced dry biases in heavy to extreme precipitation during the warm season. The new DP QPE also reduced errors and spatial discontinuities in regions impacted by partial beam blockage. Further, the new DP QPE reduced wet bias for scattered light precipitation in the southwest and north central United States where there is significant boundary layer evaporation.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jian Zhang, jian.zhang@noaa.gov

Abstract

A new dual-polarization (DP) radar synthetic quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE) product was developed using a combination of specific attenuation A, specific differential phase KDP, and reflectivity Z to calculate the precipitation rate R. Specific attenuation has advantages of being insensitive to systematic biases in Z and differential reflectivity ZDR due to partial beam blockage, attenuation, and calibration while more linearly related to R than other radar variables. However, the R(A) relationship is not applicable in areas containing ice. Therefore, the new DP QPE applies R(A) in areas where radar is observing pure rain, R(KDP) in regions potentially containing hail, and R(Z) elsewhere. Further, an evaporation correction was applied to minimize false light precipitation related to virga. The new DP QPE was evaluated in real time over the conterminous United States and showed significant improvements over previous radar QPE techniques that were based solely on R(Z) relationships. The improvements included reduced dry biases in heavy to extreme precipitation during the warm season. The new DP QPE also reduced errors and spatial discontinuities in regions impacted by partial beam blockage. Further, the new DP QPE reduced wet bias for scattered light precipitation in the southwest and north central United States where there is significant boundary layer evaporation.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Jian Zhang, jian.zhang@noaa.gov
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